fibromylgia and shortness of breath

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ByHisGrace
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 2/27/2018 8:52 AM (GMT -6)   
I hope this post is going to the fibromyalgia group. I've been on the gerd forum for past months.
I have had fibromyalgia for years, but the past several years, my muscle pain has been much better.
However, during the past year, I started having shortness of breath/tight feeling in chest. The shortness of breath can occur while doing simple things like brushing my teeth. It is present when walking but it does not get much worse when walking unless I go up a steep slope. Sometimes walking actually seems to help as long as I walk on the level. I do a mile in about 17 minutes on level surface. I am 70 years old.
Anyway, I had my heart and lungs checked out with right and left heart cath, pulmomary tests, echos, CT scans, etc and everything was fine. So thankful.!
They did find that I had a large paraesophageal hiatial hernia with half of my stomach trapped in my chest. Surgeon said since all other health issues were negative, that this was the likely cause. So, I had major surgery for this in October. It was an open surgery with a large incision so recovery has been challenging. I am recovering well, but --- after 4 months, I am still short of breath. The surgery has also aggravated the fibro due to the surgery on abdominal muscles and so now I am getting more aches in my abdomen, back, rib cage, and all over.
I feel a bit foolish and disappointed for going through the hernia surgery when perhaps the hernia was not the cause at all. But because heart and lungs were okay, I didn't know what else to do.
So, I was wondering, do any of you fibro patients every experience shortness of breath that is caused solely by fibro?
I also have constant tight back muscles on one side due to some scoliosis and my muscles react to stress a lot. I am often aware of breathing very shallow and a feeling of "holding my breath" . During the past two years, my dad has died, my mother in law died, my husband had cancer and I am overseeing care of my 91 year old mother. It has been a stress filled several years but my overall fibro pain was not too bad. Now I wonder if it just centered in my diaphgram area and affected my breathing.
I am sorry this is so long, but I am beginning to think since the heart and lungs are okay, and the hernia surgery has not helped -- that maybe I missed the obvious in not checking into fibro as a cause. If you have had time to read this long email, I would appreciate any input you may have to offer. Thanks you and God bless.

Sherrine
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17759
   Posted 2/27/2018 5:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, ByHisGrace, and welcome! Yes, you are on the fibro forum. I’m so glad you decided to check us out!

I’m sorry to hear your problems with breathing and pain from surgery. Don’t feel foolish because you had the surgery. You listened to your doctor and that’s an important thing to do. Unfortunately, modern medicine isn’t an exact science. There is a lot that isn’t known plus no one knows how a person’s body will react to surgery.

I am not a doctor but my uneducated guess is that your shortness of breath is being caused by anxiety and also possibly costochondritis. I’ve gone through both of these things and, yes, they can go hand in hand with fibro. You have had a lot on your plate and it’s catching up with you, I think. I’m also 70 and I find some things bother me a little more than they used to. Once you noticed you were short of breath you probably started zeroing in on it. I had bad anxiety many years ago and had shortness of breath to the point I didn’t think I could get a good breath of air. I didn’t feel my lungs were expanding like they should, etc. I was checked out and my doctor said I was having anxiety attacks when this was happening. I was put on Valium four times a day and that stuff was changing my personality.

One Sunday my pastor gave a teaching on fear. It dawned on me that the anxiety was fear and I really didn’t have anything to fear so I was able to toss anxiety to the curb and got off the Valium. This made such a difference in my life because I have quite a few chronic illnesses and anxiety loves to go along for the ride. The scripture that was used by the pastor can be found in my signature. I put it there in hopes that it will help members.

With costochondritis you do get a tight feeling in the chest also...plus sometimes discomfort. It can feel like you have a tight band around your rib cage. I can always tell when costo has raised its ugly head because if I press on the sternum, it is tender. I use ibuprofen with food for that.

I also have some gerd. I was put on a proton pump inhibitor...Prilosec...and developed osteoporosis. So, do talk to your doctor if you are taking PPI’s like Prilosec, Nexium, etc. You do want to keep an eye on your bones. I stopped taking this and my doctor has me on a prescription strength Pepcid AC. It works differently than the PPI’s.

Be sure to read Fibro 101... the first thread on the forum. There are links to good info about fibro and you will learn a lot there. There is a link about costochondritis so do read that link and see if this is what you are also experiencing.

I’m looking forward to getting to know you better. Don’t hesitate to ask questions because we are here to help you. Hope to hear more from you soon.

Sherrine
Forum Moderator/Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Glaucoma, Scoliosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis
************************
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Post Edited (Sherrine) : 2/27/2018 4:29:39 PM (GMT-7)


Ljm2014
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 2189
   Posted 2/28/2018 1:57 PM (GMT -6)   
I do get a shallow breathing effect with barometric changes..

I have heard others with fibro complain of this also. Our weather has been constantly up and down...
If the weather holds steady, that passes..

I use an acupressure mat, and a microcurrent unit to help when this symptom is bad

ByHisGrace
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 2/28/2018 3:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Sherrine,
Thank you for your reply. I appreciate your input, information and also your kindness. I will be checking out the "Fibro 101" and also info. on costochondritis.
I continue to hope that the open surgery I had on paraesphageal hiatial hernia and lengthening of esophogaus may help my breathing issues after more healing takes place. I know the diaphragm is stitched tightly which might affect breathing also. But at this point, 4 months after surgery, the shortness of breath is identical to my pre-surgery state. So, I am interested in the possibility of fibro and/or anxiety being factors in my breathing.
I never have anything similar to a panic attack. I just pretty much live in a state of low-grade stress, feeling "up tight", juggling lots of responsibilities and concerns. I seem calm on the outside, but not so on the inside. My shortness of breath does not particularly come on when I am feeling higher levels of stress. It can be anytime: maybe just watching tv, making dinner, times when there is no more stress than usual. I pretty much always do shallow breathing and often am aware that I am sort of "holding my breath".So, I was wondering: can shortness of breath from anxiety be like this -- sort of chronic, on and off, and not seeming connected to the levels of stress? I have heard of people with panic attacks having trouble breathing during the attack, but mine does not seem to fit this pattern.
I don't sleep well -- back pain on one side due to scoliosis and I am sure this contributes to one's overall well being and ability to bounce back, deal with daily stress, etc. I don't take any meds for this pain or for sleep. (I cannot take anti inflammatory meds due to another condition). I use ice, heat, capsacin cream, tens unit and maybe once every two weeks, I will take one Xanax at bedtime just to get an occasional good night's sleep. I also have an autoimmune disease that attacked my liver. Thankfully, with medication, that is controlled. My life has been a roller coaster of difficulties for the past several years so I am open to considering anxiety as part of my breathing issues. I was just wondering if my breathing symptoms fit an anxiety pattern that others have experienced.
So sorry that this is so long. Other than those closest to me, it is difficult for others to relate to symptoms that are not readily treatable; and I guess I have taken this opportunity to ramble. However, in the midst of my health issues, I am still in awe of how "fearfully and wonderfully" we are created. Even when some parts of our bodies are not working as well as we might wish, it is still amazing how many parts are functioning well and blessing our days. I appreciated the scripture you shared; it is one of my favorites also,along with Philippians 4:6-7.
I hope this finds you having a good day; forgive the intrustion of such a long message. Thank you again for your response and compassion and thank you in advance on any input you may have on anxiety and the type of shortness of breath I experience.

ByHisGrace
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 2/28/2018 5:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Ljm: Thank you for your reply and the information. The mat and unit you mentioned sound good; will look into those. Hope you are having a good day. Thanks again.

Sherrine
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17759
   Posted 3/1/2018 7:15 AM (GMT -6)   
I had a panic attack once. The rest of the time I had the shortness of breath. My doctor said it was an anxiety attack but my only symptom was the shortness Of breath. I couldn’t fall apart because I had three very young children at the time to take care of. But the stress in my life brought on anxiety which brought on the shortness of breath. Then I would notice that and it would get worse for me. It was a vicious cycle until I kicked it to the curb.

Sherrine

Forum Moderator/Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Glaucoma, Scoliosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis
************************
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

ByHisGrace
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 3/2/2018 10:25 AM (GMT -6)   
Rockon: Thank you for taking time to consider my post and for your reply. I appreciate all the information you shared; the adrenal insufficiency really seems like a likely match for me. I am assuming that decades of high level stress in one's life can take a toll on the function of the adrenal gland and may have led to past symptoms and the more recent shortness of breath. It is good to have some other reasons to consider for my symptoms. I'll be looking in to this more and again, I thank you for so much good information and for taking time to reply.

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16304
   Posted 3/2/2018 10:27 AM (GMT -6)   
ByHisGrace, I am not sure if you saw my post in the GERD forum or not. You inquired about how to pull up some of Alcie's old threads so I posted to you in that forum.

Take care.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

ByHisGrace
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 3/2/2018 1:14 PM (GMT -6)   
straydog, Thank you so much for posting the info to help me review previous threads by Alcie. I am new to using forums and sites like this, so all help is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your help and have a nice day.
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